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How does the Cambrian Explosion fit within the framework of young-earth creationism?



    
    

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The earth's crust consists of many layers of fossil-bearing rock. It was once believed that the lowest layer of fossil-bearing rock was the Cambrian and that Precambrian rock was totally devoid of ...

July 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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Nils 1 Nils Jansma Missionary in San Diego California
How does the “Cambrian Explosion” fit within the framework of young-earth creationism? In my opinion, this is a “disputable opinion” question that is covered by Paul’s words in Romans 14:1. With this in mind, I have to say that the Cambrian Explosion cannot be supported by the Young Earth Creationist’s (YEC) view. 

An objective observer can see that the Cambrian Explosion (CE) refers to the events that happened during Creation Day 5 of earth’s history. (Genesis 1:20-23) The CE is particularly remarkable because all major animal body plans appeared relatively abruptly in the fossil record. Of the estimated 70 distinct body plans introduced, only about 30 to 35 remain today. Those missing have all gone extinct and are located in the early layers of the fossil record. The CE is clear scientific evidence of God’s handiwork that has yet to be convincingly denied by science.

The YEC’s claim about the CE requires that the accumulated 85-miles-high of fossil layers happened in less than a year during Noah’s Flood. Such a claim should be intuitively impossible because at the same time this vast fossil distribution is supposed to be occurring, the Continents are moving under water at a peak rate over 3 billion inches per year (ipy) or up to 6 mph. This rapid continental drift rate is necessary because YECs believe that before the Flood the continents were all jammed together into one super continent called Pangea. 

Therefore, in less than 1/2 year during the Flood, all the continents had to individually race over thousands of miles to about where they are now located. Those rapid rates are to be compared with the 1/4 to 4-inch rates per year measured today using satellite geodetic methods. The point is, how can all the rock layers recognized today be deposited on rapidly moving submerged continents in such a way as to be distributed earth wide in the same layer-sequence to an accumulated height measuring 85 miles? These individual layers found in various parts of the earth often contain the same extinct fossils which are called “index fossils.”

Generally the YEC arguments against normal rates of settlements include examples relating to exceptional conditions. One I find interesting is what is called by YECs “polystrate tree” deposition. This occurs when physical trees are found standing vertically upright encompassed by horizontal layers of deposits. It is argued that such a situation denotes rapid deposition rates occurring over very short periods of time.

However, according to Dr. Morris of ICR (a YEC authority) such a situation is occurring today. He says regarding polystrate deposition: 

“Just such an event happened at Mount St. Helens in 1980, when an eruption toppled a standing forest. The tree trunks were deposited in Spirit Lake. After a few years of waterlogging, the trunks sunk roots down, in life's position but not life's location. Today there are tens of thousands of upright trees standing on the bottom of the lake. They are being engulfed by fine particles of volcanic ash and clay, and if the underlying organic layer of bark were heated by a future eruption, it would likely metamorphose into coal and duplicate the scenario revealed in the photo.” 
http://www.icr.org/article/classic-polystrate-fossil/

What Dr. Morris says requires many years to accumulate distinct deposits which is much longer than the duration of Noah’s flood. Even more disturbing is that these “polystrate” processes were supposed to be happening simultaneously when the continents are moving, under water, at rates up to 3,330,201,600 ipy (6 mph). It should be obvious that distinct layers of material could not be deposited on the rapidly moving continents.

For these reasons and many more, it should be evident that the Cambrian Explosion, while supporting the Genesis account of Creation, does not fit within the framework of young-earth creationism.

November 20 2017 4 responses Vote Up Share Report


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